East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 05, 2017, Page Page 4, Image 18

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    East Oregonian
Page 4
Tuesday, December, 5, 2017
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
6 tips for winning
ollege is a significant investment
and millions of families each year
face the question of how to pay for
it. One way students can position
themselves for success is by seeking out
various forms of financial assistance.
Earning scholarships can be one way to
offset the financial burden, but winning a
scholarship can sometimes be as competitive
as gaining admission to the college of your
choice. While most scholarships don’t
entirely cover college tuition, they can
be useful tools to help cover educational
expenses such as room and board, tuition and
Some scholarships can be earned by
meeting or exceeding certain standards,
such as academic performance, while other
scholarships are based on financial need or
personal interests of the applicant. There’s
also a wealth of opportunities that support
students in specific areas, whether it be from
companies, professional organizations or
foundations. For example, the America’s
Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program offers
industry-specific scholarships each year for
those looking to study agriculture-related
While your academic performance,
character and extracurricular resume all
play a part, know ing where to look for
scholarships can make all the difference
when it comes time to pay for your
education. These tips can help you identify
and apply for scholarships that match your
interests and credentials.
Complete the FAFSA
Completing the Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (FAFSA) may be required
to apply for a number of scholarships,
particularly scholarships offered by most
colleges and univer sities based on need. It
is also required for other forms of financial
aid, such as subsidized or unsubsidized loans.
While you can begin filling out the FAFSA
on Oct. 1 of the year prior to needing aid,
many need-based scholarships give priority
to students who complete the FAFSA by their
state’s application deadline. It is important
to note that some colleges and
universities have earlier deadlines.
Talk to Your Counselor
Colleges or universities and
scholarship provid ers often supply
information about their award
offerings and applications to high
school coun selors. Many institutions
also offer specific awards by major
for both new and returning students
that can be applied for through the
school’s financial aid office. These
resources, as well as newsletters
and bulletin boards outside of
these offices, can help you identify
scholarships for which you may be
eligible to apply.
Apply for Scholarships in
Field of Interest
Many job sectors have scholarship
opportunities available through
related clubs, organizations, small
businesses and other benefactors.
For example, the America’s Farmers
Grow Ag Leaders program, sponsored by
the Monsanto Fund in conjunction with
the FFA, provides $1,500 scholarships
to students endorsed by local farmers
for continuing their education at two- or
four-year universities and trade schools in
agriculture-related fields of study. This year,
the program will award more than $500,000
in scholarships to students in fields such as
mathematics, computer science, busi ness,
communications, engineering, farming,
agronomy, education and more. Students can
learn more about the program by visiting
Don’t Overlook Smaller
Award Amounts
When it comes to paying for your education,
every scholarship you receive – even those that
come with smaller, one-time award amounts
– can help defray the costs beyond tuition for
books, supplies and living expenses. Many
times, scholarships with smaller award amounts
have fewer additional requirements that must
be satisfied outside of mate rials traditionally
required for submission such as transcripts,
letters of reference and an application.
Look for Essay Applications
Students are often more likely to forgo
applying to scholarships that require
essays, videos or additional assets that
promote their accomplishments outside
of submitting an application and a copy
of their transcripts. This typically leads
to a smaller candidate pool. Due to the
added requirements, these scholarships
can oftentimes come with larger monetary
values, as well.
available that are dedicated to helping students
identify college scholarship opportunities.
While paid options exist, there are also several
free sites, such as Scholarships.com, Fastweb
and Scholarship America, that can provide
local, regional and national options based
on the information you provide. Other, more
industry-specific websites, such as FFA.org,
can provide scholarship opportunities that
pertain to a certain field of interest.
Use a Scholarship Search Engine
While a simple search for “college
scholarships” on any search engine is likely
to elicit plenty of options, there are sites
hile there is no way to guarantee a scholarship
to help offset the costs of higher education, there
are things you can do to increase your odds of
getting noticed by admissions departments and those who
award scholarships. Before sending in your application,
consider these tips:
Get Involved
Students who are involved in extracurricular activities,
such as volunteer causes, sports, clubs or student
government, often give themselves a leg up on the
competition when achievements in the classroom are
similar. Getting involved outside of the traditional school
day is also a way to network, which can be helpful when it
comes time to ask for letters of recommendation.
Apply Early
A good rule of thumb is to not wait until the due date to
submit your application and other materials as issues out
of your control can arise, such as a website malfunction or
a not-yet-submitted recommendation letter. In fact, some
scholarships close once they receive a certain amount of
applicants, and those reviewing applications can put a
premium on those received earlier.
Look Professional
Ensure your online presence matches the persona
your application depicts. As more college admissions
departments, employers and scholarship committees
are researching candidates online prior to awarding
admission, interviews or scholarship money, be sure to
clear your social media accounts of any inappropriate
or unprofessional material, look yourself up on search
engines to be aware of any information available about
you and use a simple email address that includes your
name in some fashion.
Read back through your scholarship application as
well as your essay a few times once you’re finished to
ensure everything looks and sounds as you intended. Pay
particularly close attention to spelling and grammar, and
if time permits, ask someone you trust – such as a parent,
teacher or counselor – to double-check your work prior to
submitting your application.